By adolescence, kids may clock in up to 11 hours of total screen time every day. Most of that time, they sit in a slumped position or a way that doesn’t properly support the spine.
Overall, modern life neglects the support a healthy spine requires. The impact can be especially problematic for growing children and teens. Many things they use every day – the backpacks they carry, shoes they wear, and bedding they sleep in – put them at an increased risk for spinal misalignment.
To keep the spine and muscles controlled and in line with good posture requires a certain mindfulness that most children don’t employ. That’s where chiropractic care can help. One analysis found that about 17 percent of chiropractic patients were under age 18.
Your chiropractor can address a diverse array of issues with kids, including persistent crying and feeding problems in infants to asthma and learning disorders in teens. Headaches and chronic ear infections are other common reasons that kids visit a chiropractor.
One survey of chiropractic care of children under 18 years found that 24 percent of visits were for prevention, especially for children younger than four. It’s never too early to introduce your children to the many benefits that chiropractic can provide!
Children and adolescents face unique concerns that can impact their overall wellbeing. Many are physically active, confront unique types of stress, and have specific sleep issues.
Chiropractors are uniquely trained to address these issues. Through adjustments as well as incorporating nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle factors, they play a critical role in the development of kids now and as they grow into becoming healthy adults.
Chiropractic for Sports Injuries
Even if they don’t participate in team sports, children and adolescents are active on the playground, after school, and playing around with each other. Being more physically active puts them at an increased risk for injury.
Younger children might suffer minor bruises, sprains, and strains. For teens, severe injuries including broken bones and torn ligaments can occur.
Sometimes these injuries aren’t immediately apparent. Children may try to “push through” the pain or ignore that it exists. Left unchecked, these injuries can reappear more harshly as adults.
Around 40 percent of under-18 chiropractor visits are due to musculoskeletal conditions, which can especially occur as children grow older. These can range from short-lived problems such as fractures and sprains to chronic pain and disability.
Besides pain, musculoskeletal conditions can limit someone’s mobility and ability to do everyday things such as playing sports. Over time, these conditions may also limit your child’s mental wellbeing.
Chiropractic care can help kids who have been injured, but regular visits can also prevent injuries from occurring. Bringing back the body back to its ideal state can ward off injuries, promote healing and repair, and support the growing bodies of children so they become healthy, active adults.
Chiropractic for Stress
Children and adolescents experience many forms of stress. One survey found that almost 45 percent of high schoolers felt stressed “all the time.” The Covid-19 pandemic has only amplified that stress while creating new stressors for many kids. Over time, this stress can manifest as obesity, depression, and many other diseases.
Stress impacts every child and teen differently. For some, high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol can create imbalances in the brain and body. For others, stress might appear as mood disorders including anxiety or depression.
When children and teens get stressed out, they often hold their bodies differently. Their shoulders become taut, they hunch, and they tense their muscles. Over time, poor posture can pull the spine out of alignment.
Chiropractors are trained to address specific stressors and provide coping strategies that will help your child excel in any area of life. Especially during this challenging time, giving your child the skills to manage life’s inevitable stressors is critical.
Chiropractic for Sleep
Up to half of children will experience a sleep problem. Even minor disruptions in sleep can impact learning, socialization, and other areas of a child’s life.
Anyone who has struggled with a sleepless child knows how it can impact everyone living with that child. Chiropractic care can help. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 40 percent of infants sleep better after just one visit to a chiropractor. Chiropractic care can address the sleeplessness that any child or teen might experience.
Many factors contribute to poor sleep. Younger children might feel restless or nervous at night and have trouble unwinding. Older kids and teens are sometimes glued to electronic devices, which can interfere with sleep patterns. Identifying and addressing sleep problems early can help prevent these and other problems in children.
About one-third of people who have a chiropractic adjustment say that they have immediate improvement in sleep. Chiropractic care can relieve discomfort a child might be feeling while improving blood flow and helping them to more deeply relax.
What Can Kids Expect at a Chiropractic Visit?
For many children and teens, that first visit to a chiropractor might be a bit nerve-wracking. Knowing what to expect can help.
During the initial visit, your child might have specific adjustments based on his or her unique condition along with an exam of the spine. Your chiropractor might take x-rays or otherwise analyze the spine for a closer look.
The adjustment itself is usually a short part of the appointment. Afterward, your chiropractor will likely help you to make better lifestyle decisions, including personalized exercises and posture techniques. These recommendations will be custom-tailored based on the child and his or her condition.
Chiropractic care is effective for prevention but also addressing specific concerns that occur as your child grows up. One review of 31 articles concluded that chiropractic was also safe for children. Of the very few adverse effects that did occur, they were from pre-existing conditions rather than chiropractic care.
A qualified chiropractor has studied for years and must pass certification requirements, as well as maintain licensing. Chiropractors are primary care providers and experts in their fields of study, trained to put children and adolescents at ease. Infants, small children, and teens are safe and well-cared for in the hands of a trained chiropractor.